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Bēhance

  • A Day in the life of a British Marine's wife, Mandy and her two children.
    Mandy is a working mother of two and has been married to a marine since a teenager. She is still coping with the hard adjustments of living a lonesome life, battling years of depression, raising her 2 children majority alone and coping with the stress and fear of a long distant military relationship.
    Mandy is married, yet single within.

    Only a small majority think of the families, especially the partners, of the military when we think of those affected by war. Yet they are usually fighting night after night with huge amounts of stress, loneliness, boredom, depression, fear and ultimately a disruptive marriage and family home. This lifestyle for military partners does not end and sometimes never improves. Being constantly affected by war they must develop independence, strength and prepare to play a single parent for the majority of their life. In doing this, they not only provide stability for their children but for the soldiers who are risking their lives, when they return home. Military partners deserve a lot of respect for enduring the lifestyle they do.

    I would like to continue this project with longer time and other families
  • People on the outside think you’re getting on with your life, but they don’t see you sat at home on your own, night after night, morning after morning. You just want to give up sometimes, it’s horrible. That’s what’s always gets to me, the loneliness. It doesn’t get any easier him going away, but I get used to it. You will always have all that emotional turmoil inside you, it still upsets me now. I’ve heard more marriages end in divorce in the military than in any other profession and from what I’ve seen, this doesn’t surprise me at all. All the time spent apart means it’s very easy to simply outgrow each other, it takes a strong relationship to keep the fires burning.’

  • ‘Now after 3 tours to Afghanistan and 3 exercises to Norway, each time he returns my head is always in pieces. I find it so hard to adjust to him being back. Right from the start I’ve always been on my own, I do everything, the bills, the house, the kids and when he does come home it’s like well what do I want you for? You are literally a single parent, it’s depressing how much you have to sort of let them back into your life and then they disappear again and again. I suppose I’m living the married life but at the same time I’m hugely single.’

  • ‘ When we moved out of the army camps, up here, got a house and Michael went to school, I was like that’s it, I’m not upskittling them anymore, you see the army kids that are so disruptive, I think it has a great impact on the kids moving them around and the loss of friendship, I wasn’t willing to put Michael and James through that, so that’s why I stayed. However James is at boarding school which Justin decided on doing, which I didn’t agree with and it has had a big affect on mine and James’ relationship, because he isn’t here.’

  • ‘ We text and email andtalk but I never get to see him, we try whatever, it is best to try and stay incontact.’
  • 'I think I’ve got to stop being so selfish.  I’ve got a bondwith Justin, I can’t describe it’s really unique. I suppose becauseI was young when I got with him, 17, so he was my first love as well. When hecomes home I want to spend time with him and do things, but when he comes homehe just wants to be at home.'
  • ‘ My major hang up is the tours. Knowing the person you love is risking their life in war torn countries is a burden for anyone. He was in Iraq when the first bombs fell and I have never experienced fear like that before. We pull this big shutter down on it, when he comes home we just don’t talk about stuff. It’s coping, I suppose, my coping technique.’

  • ‘ It’s still very disruptive to family life. Our boys are heartbroken when Justin leaves, but they soon bounce back. The trick is to try and keep things normal for them, try to keep to a routine. I find it incredibly difficult to play mum and dad while Justin is away and having to step into this role makes me feel really uncomfortable. One thing he’s never adjusted to is coming home and realising that we now do it this way, because the kids change so quickly with them growing up, he can only remember from the last time he was home. So I’m constantly achieving stuff for him to put me a step back.’

  • 'It was harder when thekids were younger because they didn’t understand where their Dad had gone, andI think for me, not to talk about it, we just DID NOT talk about it, because ofthat constant reminder it upset me knowing that he wasn’t there, we just pulledthis big shutter down on it, but now they sort of except it, and theyunderstand time now, you could never say to a little kid your Dads not comingback for a month, because you would get every day ‘ is Dad coming home? Is Dadcoming home?’ but now I can say he’s gone for however long and they just sortof except it.'
  • 'When we moved out of the army camps, got a house, Micheal wentto school, I was said 'that’s it', I’m not upskittling them anymore. You see thearmy kids grow up and they’re so disruptive, I think it has a great impact onthe kids, moving them round and the loss of friendships and I wasn’t willing toput Micheal and James though that, so that’s why I stayed.' 
  • 'I haven’t got any pictures of him around,suppose I don’t want to be reminded that’s he’s not here. I hate when people say, you knew what you were getting yourself into when you married him, you can't help your feelings can you, if you fall in love with somebody?'